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Today was a day...(34 posts)

Today was a day...Akirasho
Oct 3, 2001 5:34 PM
not unlike many ones a person experiences throughout their lives... with one exception.

Temperatures were in the mid seventies, with a stiff but bearable breeze out of the southwest... The sun hanging low on the horizon but blindingly bright when it struck your eye just right, so, as I've done countless times in the past, I set out for a jaunt into said headwind, down our local multiuse path.

As you might expect, the multiuse attracts all manner of pedestrian, bladers and riders as well as, since part of it runs along a verdant floodplain, fascinating wildlife... and as such, I've learned to expect the unexpected... and today would be no exception.

About 3 miles into the ride, I came around a bend in the path and espied what appeared to be a couple on bikes about a quarter mile ahead of me. Near them, there appeared to be a "free range" dog... perhaps a Lab mix. Now, from experience, it might have been safe to assume that the dog belonged to the biking couple... but I decided to defer judgment pending further evidence... which was forthcoming.

As I neared the couple at speed, it became apparent that indeed, this was no stray mongrel, but an animal that was in their company. Now, the players began to line up. With still a bit of distance to close before our encounter, I began to plot my solutions.

By this time, I was able to place the players on the board and decide my options... if you will, picture this...

Ahead of me, in the distance and travelling in the same direction but at drastically reduced speed... two cyclists... taking up the entire path (man on right... woman, center to left)... one free range dog, generally to the left of the path on a grassy area, but prone to just about anything... me... closing at 20+ mph.

At about the 100 yard mark, I slow a bit... at 50 yards, I announce my presence (passing on your left)... and start to brake... aggressively.

Aggressively, because, at this moment, the two riders suddenly become aware that the planet is inhabited by at least one other sentient being. In the awestruck panic that ensues, both riders juxtapose themselves... woman going to the right... and ummmm, man... going left... in what appeared to be the most halfassed, bass ackwards attempt to finally control is dog, who by this time, had also decided to come right... right in front of me.

Now, here is where things get interesting. Again, it appeares as though the man's plan was to physically grab his dog... a feat of bike handling skills which would have been the envy of a troupe of circus performers let alone an experienced cyclist. But, alas... chewing gum and walking would have been a major challenge for this one... In his attempt, he overshoots the dog (who by this time is path dead center and slightly behind the man... the woman has become a non factor since she stayed right... thank you ma'am!!) and is now heading towards the path's edge (which we all know is akin to ancient mariners sailing off the edge of the earth) to which he overcorrects (I hear comments which I assume are aimed at the dog) and passes just in front of said dog (again, path dead center). By this time, even the dog knows something is amiss (he hears the squeal of my brakes... the smell of burning rubber) and attempts to exit stage right... alas, in vain, because by this time... the dog is run over... by his own master!!!

Now, I'm out of options... as I watched this drama unfold before me (watching the train wreck in slow motion) I'd been able to consistently keep my solutions in mind... till the man hit his own dog by which time, all options had been played and it was time to put your head down and wait...

Fortunately, the man only hit the dog's hind quarters (I watched is rear wheel severely deform from the impact and waited for him to hit the deck) and he was able to stay upright and gave me just enough room to eek through... whereupon, by this time, I'd slowed to a pedestrian pace...

Now, here is where things get weird. I hear the man admonish the dog... saying "I told you to get out of the way!", whereupon I remark (with the full weight of local ordinances on my side... as well as common f#ckin' sense), "LEASH YOUR DOG PLEASE" (the moron actually had a leash in his hand) whereupon an unintelligible comment was made towards me, but had the sound of great distain... that is... both the dog and I were seemingly at fault!!!

Well, disgression, being the better part of valor (I really wanted to physically do harm to this idiot), I decided to let my warning and the experience stand on it's own merit and continued my sojourn south into the wind. The dog appeared bruised, yet otherwise unscathed... but I swear, as I looked over my shoulder, the dog's eyes conveyed a subliminal message ("I'm not really with them... these ain't my masters!!! For the love of God, take me with you!!!")

Today was a day... not unlike many ones a person experiences throughout their lives... and unfortunately, I know I'll have another one like it sooner or later...

We abide.

Remain In Light.
The people who say I'm crazy to ride on the road...Curtis
Oct 3, 2001 5:50 PM
...are the same people who tell me to ride on multi-use/bike paths in the local parks. I feel MUCH safer on the road, in traffic, any time of day, in any weather than I have ever felt sharing a bike path with...well, with anyone.

I have long said bicycle paths are not for bicyclists.

Glad you came out alright.
I agree.look271
Oct 3, 2001 7:36 PM
I stay off of those, unless I absolutely have to ride on one.
I agree! Multi-use trails are only fit for rainy day riding. nmdzrider
Oct 4, 2001 4:43 AM
Holy carnage!!!!!Largo
Oct 3, 2001 6:05 PM
Yes, give me cowboys in Dodges anyday, bike paths are nothing but TRUBL!
You got the dirt bags on blades who stay right in the middle, pedestrians who blithely walk two abrest as if there was no one else, etc...
How 'bout bikers with head phones on!
Great story, and so well written to boot!
nyc or jersey perhaps....dupe
Oct 4, 2001 1:41 AM
mr. akirasho,

whilst reading your story all i was picturing was the bike path running down from the riverside drive along the banks of the hudson down to the piers.

if only because i too have lost lots of skin on the same path and have scince given up on it due to its inherent danger.

cioa, ben
I enjoyed your tale.9WorCP
Oct 4, 2001 4:38 AM
The guy probably thought he was doing his dog a favor letting it run loose on the public path. Oh well, could have been worse but, I empathize entirely. By the way, thanks for taking the time to write a decent readable post.
Oh I love it! Very well written, what a great tale. nm.MB1
Oct 4, 2001 4:48 AM
Poor dog. Where is he? I'll take him home. nmSpinchick
Oct 4, 2001 5:15 AM
what baffles me is:filtersweep
Oct 4, 2001 5:24 AM
"...whereupon I remark (with the full weight of local ordinances on my side... as well as common f#ckin' sense), "LEASH YOUR DOG PLEASE" (the moron actually had a leash in his hand) whereupon an unintelligible comment was made towards me, but had the sound of great distain... that is... both the dog and I were seemingly at fault!!! "

What is up with people who are clearly in the wrong having to verbally attack others? Usually if a man is with a woman, she'll keep him in line. I had a similar experience on a paved trail that takes me to my regular road route- keep in mind this is a one-way 8 ft. bike path- not some crazy mix of pedestrians and directions, and this mtn. biker is off road chewing up the prairie riding perpendicular to the trail, pauses as he sees me coming about 75 ft away, then in slow motion turns left onto the trail and at almost standing speed, he occupies the left side of the trail. I yell "on your left"- he freezes, so I slow almost to a stop to pass him on the right... he apologizes as I utter some expletives directed at the situation- not at him, then he throws a tirade. My issue was that he saw me coming in the first place, then he occupies the left side of the lane, then he doesn't respond to my warning.... but when it's all said and done, he has to make it my fault. This guy appeared to be a typical mtn biker, not some guy on a ghetto cruiser who has a DWI and has the INS after him! I've certainly encountered group rides of extended family (like two adults and kids on little bikes scattered all over the place) but I can forgive kids, I can forgive the parents who don't understand English...

...even dogs on leashes can be a real hazard! How many times have you seen a cyclist or blader with a dog on a leash, and the dog is occupying the left side of the trail attached to the rider occupying the right, and they block the entire path- and if you were to split them, you arguably could kill the dog? Dangerous stuff. Yesterday there were two dogs breeding on this same trail while the presumable owners (if not owners, then voyeurs) were stopped blocking the rest of the trail.

I do think that on trails, even these commuter trails that are not exactly multi-use trails (they are wide, one way, and go through industrial wastelands) roadbikers are regarded with disdain because we simply ride faster than everyone else, and people perceive it as we have something to prove, or we have issues, or whatever (like some crazy driver speeding on the freeway)- not that roadbikes simple are faster, and you can't even break a sweat riding under 20 mph... like it is OUR responsibility to ride safely in the absence of any common sense on the part of any other man/woman/child/dog on the trail.
We have to respect the other users, tooCRM
Oct 4, 2001 5:43 AM
From your account, there is no doubt that the mountain biker acted improperly, but I think the important thing to remember is that on trails like that you are more likely to encounter inexperienced cyclists who are prone to make poor judgments and perhaps freeze up in a crisis situation.

Like several posters have mentioned, it is not particularly safe to ride on multi-use trails. Especially if you are going much faster than the majority of the traffic. It doesn't matter if you are riding a road bike or are on roller blades or a skateboard. If you're going twice as fast as the majority of the people you're passing, it's unsafe.

These other people, despite their ignorance or inexperience, have a right to use the trail for their purposes. I suggest that anyone, cyclist or otherwise, who is planning on travelling at 20+ mph, should not do so on such a trail because it creates a very dangerous condition for everyone.
what baffles me is:nova
Oct 4, 2001 6:30 AM
you hit the nail on the head:

"OUR responsibility to ride safely in the absence of any common sense on the part of any other man/woman/child/dog on the trail."

Unfortunately, THEIR safety is OUR responsibility. Not because we want it, but because they abdicate it to us. They aren't looking out for themselves, and they aren't looking out for anyone else. It drives me NUTS when I'm on my local trail. I admit that sometimes I just give up, put the hammer down, and let the chips fall where they may. I've been lucky, and I need to stop doing that. But many times it seems that *not* yelling "on your left" is a safer course of action.

I have literally had a woman with an infant in her arms standing at the edge of the trail make eye contact with me, and then proceed to take a step *directly* in front of me. I had to hit the brakes and bail out into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting her. I've had a situation where a woman on a bike blew through the stop sign of an adjoining trail without looking. I yelled "heads up!" with still some time for her to stop and avoid pulling into my path. What did she do? She braced herself for impact, and didn't even look up OR slow down. This was the first and only time that I've ever locked my rear wheel up completely and laid down a patch of rubber on the asphalt. Another near miss.

But my favorite was a peaceful morning commute to work on a portion of this path, when I saw a four door sedan coming at me from the opposite direction. I pulled over, WAY over,
and as the car rolled to a stop, the driver rolled the window down and asked for directions. My response was "This isn't a road" and the woman snapped back "Well! I know that!"
Don't you just love it when oncoming cyclistsMB1
Oct 4, 2001 6:34 AM
riding in the wrong lane (and obviously knowing they are wrong) finally notice someone coming and close their eyes and scream.

That will keep you off the MUTs for a while.
you are nutsWoof the dog
Oct 4, 2001 5:41 AM
riding on the recreational path. Its smarter to ride on the road. I really wish you didn't ride on the path on your good roadbike. It would really suck to crash your pimp-mobile into some stupid unleashed dog. I actually hit a dog once in complete darkness on a bikepath. It didn't yelp or anything, but it was probably a hard hit 'cause I went over the bars on my old mtn. bike. I was stupid riding with a bad light. Besides, when riding your expensive machine you should call out that you are passing someone way ahead of time. Of course, do whatever you want, but I am just telling you that you could escape this situation even if they were blocking your way. Another cool thing: when breaking move your butt way back off the saddle and give everything you got to that front break. You wouldn't flip and you will stop in no time. But of course, you already know that, don't you?

Ride on

Rough Rough
Woof the dog.
I think you're making too big a deal out of itStarliner
Oct 4, 2001 5:48 AM
Welcome to America, land where rules are bent. You come upon a couple who, self-absorbed in a post-coital-like fog, have an unleashed dog tagging along. So what's new?

To me, the situation you came upon is on a similar annoyance level as encountering road construction obstacles. With plenty of space and time to deal with it, you were able to get by without a scratch and with air fully intact within your tires.

As for those people, in their clumsy attempt to scramble out of your way, one of them whacked the dog. Yet you decide to scold them about the leash as you passed by.

While you were busy soaking in the dog's subliminal message, you forgot to thank yourself for providing confirmation in two more people's minds that.... roadies are indeed a-holes.

You deserve our thanks for that.
Sometimes I'm amazed the human race has survivedDog
Oct 4, 2001 5:56 AM
If not for sheer numbers, I doubt we would have. The world is so full of unthinking, inconsiderate, rude, oblivious morons that I'm stunned we can even survive. Sometimes I feel like 1% of the population is "pulling" the rest.

Another example, here in Fresno, real bike lanes, seriously wide, well marked, plentiful bike lanes exist. After work, I was driving on a street with a bike lane to my right. Because of traffic ahead, some lady back of me decides to drive in the bike lane for about a half a mile to jump ahead to make her right turn (the law here permits entering the bike lane 200 feet before a right turn). She was matching my speed, and happened to have her window open. So, thanks to power windows, I lowered my passenger window and yelled at the top of my lungs, "You are driving in the bike lane!!!" She sped on, but hopefully she was sufficiently embarrassed that someone would call her on this not to do it again. Her offense was compounded by the fact that I was preparing to turn right into a driveway before the intersection, so I could easily have turned into her if not looking carefully. What is it with people?

Not giving a care about anyone else is epidemic in society, it seems. While, yes, we have plenty of heros, decent people, thoughtful people, there are just so many idiots that it really tries the patience. It's so hard just to let it go. I very rarely react, but this woman got to me, as she easily could have endangered someone by what she was doing, not to mention the fact that the more people see others doing it, the more they will think it's ok too.

I've been in your near exact situation, except for the owner running down his own dog part. I've come to realize that when confronted with stupid animals on the path (humans and canines), you just have to darn near come to a stop behind them and then proceed. It's frustrating, but probably wise.

As you mention, what is so strange about these situations is that inevitably the idiot will think that they were in the right, or at least you are totally out of line for pointing out their error. We have become a politically correct society that frowns upon attempts to get others to "do the right thing." Just look at the attacks on nearly anyone on this site who try to ask others to merely be civil. Same thing. They are labeled "thought police," "Nazi's," or whatever denegrating term they can think of. No, it is not ok to be thoughtless, uncivil, or rude. Decent people, such as you, sometimes have to, even if in the most polite way, point it out.

The quest for civility and decency will never end. I'm not talking about Victorian or zealously conservative values here, but mere decency and thoughtfulness - mere attempts to think of others, the Golden Rule. It's frustrating.

Don't forget sometimes we are the windshield sometimes the bug.MB1
Oct 4, 2001 6:04 AM
I know I have done plenty of stupid mindless things in my life. I'm likely to do some today. Hopefully they are balanced by the smart and kind things I occasionally do.
same hereDog
Oct 4, 2001 6:12 AM
Heaven knows I've made huge mistakes in my life, too. The difference, I think, is that for decent people, they recognize their errors, apologize, and try not to do it again. Other people get defensive, attack, and repeat.

And some of us..........Len J
Oct 4, 2001 6:24 AM
get defensive, attack and then recognize our errors apologize, and try not to do it again.

You are right though that most people can be broken down into two groups, those that are secure enough to be able to admit when they screw up & try to do better & those who are so insecure that they must defend thier self image against any attacks from reality. The latter are kind of sad, as they have little chance of ever being happy (IMO).

Oct 4, 2001 6:32 AM
Get defensive? Who are you calling defensive? What gives you the right?



Good Point!......Len J
Oct 4, 2001 6:20 AM
It is really all about striving to be what you want to be. Some people are just satisfied with the way they are. Others want to be better, it's all a matter of what reality you are willing to accept, the one in your head (which protects your self image) or the one in the world (which helps you see where you can do better)

Words of wisdom by Len J!Tig
Oct 4, 2001 10:38 AM
Wow, you really hit the nail on the head with the self reality vs. the world reality! It reminds me of a story (oh no!).

An English man years ago was walking along the street on a cold night when he noticed there was a man down in the sewer up to his neck in the most foul sewage waste. He cried, "Good Lord man, do you know you're burried in sh*t?!"
The man answered, "Yes, I know... but it's warm."

It reminds me of how people will not attempt to make a change from bad habits or bad situations because they are secure with what they already have, instead of taking the risk for a greater level of living. A sad way to waste the gift of life.
Great story, I'll steal that :-) nmLen J
Oct 4, 2001 10:48 AM
Just desserts for bozos...Brooks
Oct 4, 2001 6:55 AM
A few years back while driving through West Virginia, there was a bunch of road construction: orange cones, lane closures, the works. What are you going to do? Getting upset doesn't solve anything and in the grand scheme of things a few minutes of delay doesn't really amount to much. Enjoy the scenery. Apparently this was all too much for some bozo who could see his exit a half mile ahead and decided to veer inside the barrels and pass by the rest of us. Wouldn't you know the road construction was pouring concrete for new lanes and in particular the right lane. As we passed by, the VW bug was up to it's floorboards in wet concrete with a lot of angry construction workers around. I still laugh as I recall the image and wonder what happened next.
As to the topic at hand, on a MUT go slow, expect the unexpected, and enjoy the scenery. If you want to do 20+mph use the road. And yes, dogs should always be on a leash.
re: Today was a day...natz
Oct 4, 2001 6:21 AM
You were doing 20+ mph on a multi-use path populated with the standard bozos and do not feel that you were part of the problem, but simply a victim?
Exactly. Well put. nmCRM
Oct 4, 2001 6:43 AM
re: Today was a day...mb2
Oct 4, 2001 7:09 AM
Those inconsiderate morons! They have no right to travel at such a slow speed. Multiuse paths were designed for high-speed racing bikes. The way I figure, you didn't even have to announce your presence at a distance of 150 feet. It boggles the mind how inconsiderate they were! You even had to apply your brakes!!!

BTW: If I were you, I'd get my brakes fixed. You stated you braked aggressivley at 50 yards, and you were going about 20+ mph, and still could not stop in time.

Overall, you are truely the victim. You poor thing. You watched it all unfold before your eyes and could do nothing to prevent it. Thank goodness you didn't get hurt and could still "eek through"!

We should all strive to be like you.
Get a grip!filtersweep
Oct 4, 2001 3:17 PM
There are a variety of flavors of multi-use trails. I live downtown and there is a network of commuter trails that extend for miles along abandoned railroad right of ways. These are three separate lanes, one for foot traffic (both ways) and two for bikes (there is no blader icon on the signs, but bladers use them)- and these are each 8ft. wide. Places where they come together have a solid line separating the foot path, and dotted lines separating bike lanes. Again, these are commuter trails that go nowhere near recreational areas (they are in industrial wastelands). They are marked with stopsigns, curve signs, hill warnings, etc... and there is no posted speed limit like on some of the recreational trails. These trails are the easiest and safest ways to ride to actual roads for road biking.

The point that you ignore is that if this were a highway, people actually might "look before crossing," might actually be mindful of their pets, wouldn't just stop "in the middle of the road," etc... if a bunch of kids were playing ball in the middle of the street and blocking traffic, would you suggest that they had a right to do so simply because the street was there and that it ran through their residential neighborhood? Actually I envision you more the sort who supports double parking and blocking traffic, given your post....

Finally, I've encountered plenty of idiot road riders on the road (running lights, passing cars on the right, etc.), pedestrians stepping into the road right in front of bikes, car doors, etc... not to mention terrible drivers- the difference is there *should* at least be a bit of mutual respect from other bikers in an environment devoid of motorized vehicles.

I don't know if you live in the backwoods with a ton of excellent biking roads, but I live in the city, and I don't drive my car to roads so I can bike... I bike to where I bike, and this involves the use of trails. I regard them as a necessary evil.

Also, I sensed from the tone of the original post that there was an effort to provide a bit of entertainment for this board- I didn't pick up an overwhelming tone of anger about the incident.
Get a grip!mb2
Oct 6, 2001 6:19 AM
What the heck is your point?
mb2 ??? I just noticed the name!!! Fothlmao!!! nmMB1
Oct 5, 2001 6:51 AM
many years ago..........................DAC
Oct 4, 2001 7:45 AM
when I was 19 or 20, I had a collision with an unleashed dog who's owner was letting him run alongside, while he jogged, on the local M.U.P. Unfortunately, the dog didn't survive the impact, nor did my Peugeot PX-10LE. I was slightly injured, but was able to walk myself (and ruined bike) up to the road, and called the sherriff. The irresponsible dog owner was distraught, as you could imagine.
While waiting for the sherriff to arrive, the I.D.O. called me several profanities, and made threats. Luckily, he was spewing bile at me just as the gendarmerie arrived. The deputies noticed this, and actually took him away in their car, charging him with disorderly conduct.
The bike was totalled, and the $250 (or so) value on it was deemed to be excessive by Mr I.D.O. I had to sue him in small claims court for payment (btw, he had lots of $$).
Even at court, he still claimed that it was my fault! The judge didn't think so, and I won.
There are a lot of people out there who never take responsibility for their own actions. This moron likely would've been trading blows with me if I hadn't already called the law in. You were lucky that your mobility was'nt incubered, as mine was.
Moral of the story?KentH
Oct 4, 2001 8:14 AM
People who take their unleashed dogs for a walk on a public thoroghfare are taking a risk. They should be liable for any damages should there be an accident involving their dog.

But your story is different from Akirasho's. Nothing happened to him - he's OK. If he would have just kept his arrogant mouth shut when he passed on by them instead of rubbing salt into the wound, they probably would have kept their foul mouths shut as well.
Been there...mr_spin
Oct 4, 2001 7:54 AM
I commute to work every day on a MUT, so I have lots of opportunities to witness incredible stupidity. I've gotten to the point that ordinary stupidity like you describe doesn't even bother me anymore. I've come to expect it, and I'm pretty good at anticipating it. What bothers me now are the people I see every day doing the same stupid thing.

There's these two ladies who block the trail riding side-by-side at 5 mph. They always seem shocked that anyone else is using the trail, much less wants to get by them. It takes forever for them to figure out which one should get out of my way so I can pass.

Another group of three women (always women in the morning!) walks towards me three abreast, taking up most of the path. There's no "on your left" here--they are facing me and can see me coming from a long way away. Do they bother to move even slightly? No way. Every morning. I used to run off the trail trying not to hit these ladies, but now I don't even slow down as I pass them on whatever bit of trail they've given me. I get evil looks now, but they still don't move.

There's a guy with a "free range" dog. Every day I have to take evasive action to avoid hitting the dog. One time I nearly crushed it when it wandered into my path at the last moment, which greatly angered the owner. Then the owner instructs the dog to get me! The dog, obviously not dangerous, half-heartedly complies, but I didn't even bother to react. Does the owner learn anything from this? Nope. Every day, the same thing.

I can't figure it out. Is it that they are stupid, or they just don't care? I've learned that as far as trail companions go, ducks and geese are more trustworthy and predictable. In the summer, groups of children come out to play along the creek. They are so much more well behaved and aware of what's going on than most of the adults!
sounds like you need an air horn :-)kenyee
Oct 5, 2001 6:21 AM
People are too self-centered nowadays and they have been taught to think they should always feel good and are never wrong. Too many need a "swift kick in the ass" (70's Show reference)...